With the weather finally set to improve soon for Spring, potential home sellers’ thoughts turn to getting their house on the market. In today’s blog, I’d like to provide a few tips to consider.
Besides providing a current comparative market analysis (CMA) for market valuation of your property, and assuming your aim is to list, your Realtor should also point out ways to get it in its most market-ready and saleable state. This should involve walking the house room by room together and offering suggestions. While home conditions can vary dramatically based on age, wear and tear, and owner preferences, the following are generally accepted truisms when it comes to getting your house ready to sell.
Paint. A fresh coat of paint, in a neutral and perhaps on-trend color palette, is one of the best returns on investment when it comes to making a favorable impression and keeping your fix up costs low. This includes freshening up the trim; for example, a crisp semi-gloss white trim contrasted with updated wall colors looks clean and inviting. If the ceilings are faded and show some wear, basic ceiling white helps. If you’ve got older wallpaper or simply a lot of it, you’ll need to carefully consider the cost-return value for removal, but in general, fresh neutral paint is preferred over design specific dated wallpaper.
Flooring must also carefully be considered. If your carpeting is in good or adequate shape, a simple deep cleaning should be sufficient. But if it’s shopworn and damaged, you should definitely consider replacing it. Another option, if you’re fortunate to have hardwood underneath, is to remove and show off that hardwood floor – perhaps sanding or refinishing are called for, but it’s going to look a lot better.
Lighting is really important, all the way down to the consistency of the bulbs being used throughout the house. Consider replacing outdated light fixtures, and make sure you have lighting in every room – even if you use floor lamps. New light fixtures can be had relatively cheaply at the big box hardware stores and make an immediate impression. Ultimately you want your house to show as light and bright as possible. This should include washing the windows and having neutral window fixtures, such as (faux) wood slat blinds, vs. lower grade vinyl.
Curb appeal. They say first impressions are everything, so having a desirable entryway and foyer is critical. While the buyer’s agent is busy opening the front door, the buyers are studying the front porch area; once they’re inside, they’re getting grounded, and within the first 20 seconds are forming their opinions for what they think the inside is going to look like, based on what they see when they walk in. So, make sure everything within eyesight from the foyer is clean, tidy and on point.
Declutter. While this may seem obvious, listen to your Realtor on various decluttering tips. General suggestions include editing closets, pantries and bookshelves to about half; with clothing, keep the in season only and store the rest. Closet floors should be cleared to show off more space. Wall art and décor is surely a case by case basis, but personal or family specific items should probably be removed. A couple days before you’re ready to go live with your listing, be sure to have an overall house deep clean.
While the above tips are generally safe to recommend, higher price point homes should involve a professional stager to make a detailed evaluation, recommendation and report. Your Realtor should be able to supply you with somebody they trust to perform this important work. For a 2500 sq. ft house this might run in the $200-$250 range for the consultation.
One last idea to consider when prepping your house for sale is to have a pre-inspection performed, especially if your electrical or plumbing systems, or mechanicals, are older and may not have been regularly serviced. Your Realtor can help provide a qualified home inspector to do a full inspection as a pre-emptive measure so you can be aware of any issues that might need to be addressed. Whatever they find will likely be found by your Buyer’s home inspector, so it’s usually better to be prepared for this, and reduce the number of “fixes” beforehand. For a 2500 sq. ft house you could expect to pay in the $400-$500 range. Radon testing is extra, figure on about $200.
In summary, think clean, tidy, light and bright when prepping your house so it’s in its best market and show ready condition. The saying is you’re no longer showing your house and personal history, but rather, the house your new Buyer sees for themselves.
About the Author:
Bob Richter has 25 years of negotiating contracts and deals to obtain optimal pricing, terms and service levels. Through that experience, Bob can help you navigate through the complexities of buying or selling real estate with his collaborative approach, keen eye for detail, relentless follow-through and passion to provide you with the results you’re seeking. He understands the value of creating and growing strong, long-term relationships. Your total satisfaction is his ultimate goal.
Whether you’re looking to find your first or next home for the best possible value, or sell your existing residence that maximizes what you’ve put into it, Bob is absolutely committed to combining his experience, instincts and follow-through with a host of tremendous tools and support offered by Baird & Warner to make your dream a reality.